Europe open: Stocks fall but airlines help limit losses
European shares opened lower on Wednesday as losses were offset by strong gains in airline stocks on the back of an upbeat statement from easyJet amid a dump of trading updates.
The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was down 0.13% at 0820 GMT, with markets mixed across the Continent. US stocks were lower overnight after a gloomy earnings statement from Microsoft.
“Microsoft’s results showed a better-than-expected performance for its cloud computing division Azure, showing that there is resilient demand from firms who want to make efficiencies and cost-savings,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.
“But overall revenue growth lower than expectations, companies and consumers are clearly belt tightening and Microsoft is cautious about the quarter ahead with sales momentum slowing.”
The tech sector was also hit by news that the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging the company violated anti-trust laws by abusing its monopoly in ad technology.
UK stocks gained after UK factory gate prices fell to 14.7% year on year, a nine-month low.
In other equity news, easyJet shares soared as the low-cost airline said it expected to beat annual profit expectations. Rivals Wizz Air, British Airways owner IAG, Ryanair and Lufthansa all flew higher on the news.
ASML gained after the supplier of equipment to chip makers reported better-than-expected earnings.
Germany defence firm Rheinmetall was up on news that Berlin was set to approve the deployment of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com